Police seek help finding man who opened fire in NJ, killing Seton Hall student, injuring 4

By Beth Defalco, AP
Sunday, September 26, 2010

Police request help solving NJ students’ shootings

EAST ORANGE, N.J. — Authorities on Sunday pleaded for the public’s help in finding a man who opened fire at an off-campus house party near Seton Hall University, killing a student and wounding four other people.

The university, with its collection of red brick buildings tucked behind a wrought-iron fence, stands in stark contrast to the gritty neighborhood where the party was held a mile away. Just a block from the shooting site, the remains of a memorial for another recent shooting victim could still be seen.

The Friday night party, which lasted into early Saturday, was primarily for students at Seton Hall, a well-regarded Roman Catholic university with a gated campus in South Orange, about 15 miles from New York City. But the party was in a neighborhood of East Orange where violence has been a problem, said Rabu Anderson, who owns a clothing store around the corner from the shooting site.

“Some of it is gang violence, some of it is just plain ignorance,” Anderson said.

There were at least five shootings in the area this summer, Anderson said, and teddy bears and candles are still strewn about a nearby corner where the last person died because of gun violence.

On Sunday, police had set up an electronic sign, the kind usually used to tell drivers of detours, to ask for help solving the house party shooting, which occurred just after midnight. The message advertised a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

East Orange police were following several leads but had not identified a suspect, spokesman Andrew Di Elmo said.

Students said the shooter was kicked out of the party when he refused to pay the cover charge, then returned with a handgun and started firing.

Psychology major and honors student Jessica Moore was killed. Moore, 19, was from Disputanta, Va.

Authorities had not released the names of the four wounded people, whose injuries weren’t considered life-threatening.

Two of the injured are 19-year-old women who go to Seton Hall, and one is a 25-year-old man who attends the New Jersey Institute of Technology. The other is a 20-year-old man from New York who is not a student.

East Orange resident Leon Drinks, who lives four doors down from the house where the shooting occurred, said the violence has become much worse in the past couple of years. He said just after midnight he heard six shots — not an uncommon sound on South Clinton Street.

“I kinda laid low for a minute, then I heard the stampede of people on this side of the street and that side of the street,” said Drinks, 54. “People were running in driveways and alleyways trying to get out of the mess.”

Seton Hall, which has about 10,000 students, knows about the unseemly side of some of the neighborhoods nearby. It advises students not to leave campus alone.

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